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"These essays were were written and illustrated by students at the Rhode Island school of Design in February, 2021. Their perspectives are entirely personal and reflect their efforts within a 5.5-week fused studio/seminar course that was centered on the Sixth Mass Extinction and how biodiversity is changing because of humans. Discovering that science communication is more than delivering just the facts, students were invited to research a topic of personal interest that is relevant to human impacts on biodiversity. Through analysis of data and other scientific information, each sought to synthesize their research and opinions on their topic through a combination of text and illustration. Their work is presented here unedited." Susan Doyle, Dr. Lucy Spelman –– from the Introduction

Publication Date



Art of Communicating Science | Wintersession 2021


Susan Doyle, Dr. Lucy Spelman


illustration, history, philosophy, social sciences, conservation, essays, student work, studio, seminar, biodiversity, sixth mass extinction, agriculture, climate change, hunting, fishing, habitat destruction, urbanization, pollution, resource extraction


Biodiversity | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Environmental Education | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Illustration | Natural Resources and Conservation | Sustainability


Art of Communicating Science: This 6-credit course fuses studio investigations and science topics in a studio/seminar model that is centered on the Sixth Mass Extinction and how biodiversity is changing because of human. Coursework invites undergraduate and graduate students to consider complex issues impacting the environment through lectures, readings, videos, visits to local sites (nature sanctuaries, watersheds, and the zoo) while improving their skills in recording observations through drawing. Methods of visualizing information synthesized from a variety of sources will be presented discussed and experimented with. Students will discover that science communication is more than delivering just the facts: it can be entertaining, surprising, and controversial. Each week we will focus on one of the major drivers of extinction today: Agriculture, Hunting/Fishing, Habitat Destruction (urbanization, pollution, resource extraction) and Climate Change. Examples will be presented from around the world as well as from New England. Students will spend substantial amounts of time drawing on location-not only to create visual records of experiences but also to sort through what is seen and felt. They will experiment with different ways of working in the field; (re)consider the use of photography; learn to synthesize multi-modal input .and explore mapping and other graphical means of communicating abstract ideas. Each will devise a personal approach to the goals and format of a field-journal. During classroom studios, students will practice analyzing and interpreting scientific information in order to both understand and present it visually. For their final project, students will research a topic in depth relevant to human impacts on biodiversity, and create original artwork designed to communicate the topic to the public.

SOLUTIONS Human Centered Approach to Conservation



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